SAN JOSE -- In an effort to reduce violent crime and get weapons off the streets, San Jose police on Saturday will be handing out Target gift cards worth $100 or $200 for working guns, rifles, shotguns and assault weapons.

The San Jose Police Department, in conjunction with other city and county officials, is holding a gun buyback at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on 2012 E. San Antonio Ave.

Police are offering $100 gift cards in exchange for working handguns, rifles, shotguns and $200 gift cards for working assault weapons.

San Jose police Capt. Brian Ferrante said the buyback falls in line with newly appointed Chief Larry Esquivel's push to reduce gang violence, which often coincides with gun violence. It is the first gun buyback held by San Jose police since 2001.

"Our main goal is to take those weapons off the streets that could potentially end up in the hands of criminals and be used in shootings, robberies and homicides," Ferrante said.

Ferrante believes the majority of people who will take advantage of the gun buyback are legal owners who no longer want weapons in their homes. Guns owned and stored legally have the potential to be stolen during burglaries and later used on the streets in violent crimes, Ferrante said.

"We'll accept the weapons no questions asked," Ferrante said.

He said police will check serial numbers on the guns after the event is over and try to return any stolen weapons to the gun owners. All other firearms will be destroyed, Ferrante said.


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The buyback is being held in partnership with several agencies, including the Santa Clara County District Funding for the buyback program is coming from several resources, including asset forfeiture funds from the San Jose Police Department and Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. Other city leaders and community groups and faith-based organizations are donating money to the buyback.

The event in San Jose is taking place in conjunction with efforts in other California cities, including Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Although the buyback is targeting residents of San Jose, the campaign won't turn away people from other South Bay cities.

Gun buyback
When: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 2012 E. San Antonio Ave.
What: Trade in a working handgun, rifle, shotgun in exchange for a $100 gift card or an assault rifle for a $200 gift card. Transport unloaded weapons in trunk of car. No walks-ups or ammo.
For more information, visit www.sjdistrict5.com or call 408-535-4947.